A Tale Of Two Memorial Days

While many Americans paid solemn tribute to our nation’s fallen military heroes and warriors . . .

. . . Obama, the President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, played golf.

Barack Obama’s decision to play golf on Memorial Day was disrespectful and hardly presidential

/we need a new President

Do You Believe In Iranian Magic?

It looks like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is on his way out as Iran’s president. You know you’re in real trouble when they start arresting your staff for witchcraft.

Ahmadinejad allies charged with sorcery

Close allies of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have been accused of using supernatural powers to further his policies amid an increasingly bitter power struggle between him and the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being “magicians” and invoking djinns (spirits).

Ayandeh, an Iranian news website, described one of the arrested men, Abbas Ghaffari, as “a man with special skills in metaphysics and connections with the unknown worlds”.

See also:
Ahmadinejad Staffers Accused of Sorcery
Ahmadinejad’s Advisers Jailed for Practicing Witchcraft
Close aide to Ahmadinejad arrested
Ahmadinejad supporters arrested
In Iran, do they burn witches too?
Internal strife emerges as Tehran looks westward
Trouble at the top
Ahmadinejad in the Crosshairs
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to resign as Iranian president?
Breaking: Ahmadinejad to resign

The bizarre arrests seem to have something to do with the production and distribution of the Iranian end times documentary The Coming. Is Ahmadinejad being sacked for his fervent belief that the return of the 12th Imam is near? Will his ouster be a positive development for the West’s relations with Iran? Who knows?

/although, as long as Iran’s theocracy is still in power, I doubt it

Springtime For Taliban

Here we go again.

Taliban declares ‘spring offensive’

The Taliban has announced the launch of a spring offensive against foreign troops in Afghanistan as well as Afghan security forces and government officials.

Saturday’s declaration comes a day after high-ranking US military officers predicted such a move from the group.

Dubbed the “Badar” offensive, the fresh onslaught “will target foreign forces, high-ranking officials of President Hamid Karzai’s government, members of the cabinet and lawmakers, as well as the heads of foreign and local companies working for the NATO-led coalition,” the Taliban said in a statement.

See also:
Taliban warns of spring offensive
Afghanistan: Taliban announce spring offensive
Taliban declares start to spring offensive in Afghanistan
Afghan Taliban: Surge to Begin Sunday
Taliban militants declare new offensive
Taliban announce spring offensive in Afghanistan
Taliban announce beginning of its ‘spring offensive’
NATO dismisses Taliban offensive as propaganda
Afghan Taliban declare start to spring offensive
Taliban declare start of spring offensive
Taliban announce beginning of spring offensive; NATO downplays it

Let’s hope that our troops have rules of engagement that allow them to actually engage and kill the enemy or at least be allowed to carry loaded weapons to defend themselves.

/what a hellhole, is it still even worth being there?

These Are Not The Drones You Seek

Mission creep, what mission creep? Who are you going to believe, Robert Gates and Obama or your own lying eyes? Why, exactly, are we in Libya again?

U.S. will deploy Predators in Libya

President Barack Obama has given U.S. forces the go-ahead to use armed Predator drones in Libya after forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi changed their tactics in the fighting there, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced Thursday.

“It’s an evolving situation. We saw an opportunity here and recommended it to the president. He took it,” Gates told reporters at a Pentagon briefing.

However, Gates said the use of the drones did not indicate that the U.S. was being sucked back into a military campaign that Obama has promised will be handled chiefly by other NATO countries and allied forces.

“This is a very limited addition on our part, but it does provide some additional capabilities to NATO,” Gates said. “I don’t think there’s mission creep at all….The primary strike role has been turned over to our allies, our friends.”

Now remember boys and girls, providing “additional capabilities to NATO” is not, I repeat, IS NOT mission creep. Um, it’s been at least a couple months now, whatever happened to “days, not weeks”?

See also:
U.S. begins using Predator drones in Libya
U.S. Launches Drone Strikes in Libya
Obama authorizes Predator drone strikes in Libya
US deploys armed drones over Libya
Obama Approves Use of Predator Drones in Libya
U.S. Sends Predators to Strike Qaddafi Troops Fighting Rebels
Libya: US sends armed drones to shield rebels
Pentagon: Robot War Over Libya Begins in 3, 2, 1 …
US begins using armed drones in Libya
U.S. introduces armed Predator drones in Libya

Of course, the U.N. resolution we’re operating under only authorizes humanitarian efforts, so I’m sure these armed Predator drones will only be used to deliver food to civilians and stuff like that.

The Council stressed the need to intensify efforts to find a solution to the crisis that responded to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people, noting actions being taken on the diplomatic front in that regard. It further demanded that Libyan authorities comply with their obligations under international law and take all measures to protect civilians and meet their basic needs and to ensure the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian assistance.

In that connection, the Council specified that the flight ban would not apply to flights that had as their sole purpose humanitarian aid, the evacuation of foreign nationals, enforcing the ban or other purposes “deemed necessary for the benefit of the Libyan people”.

I don’t know, what supposedly started out as a limited “kinetic military action” sure as hell seems to have blossomed over the weeks into the United States and NATO openly taking sides in a Libyan civil war.

/how is that not mission creep?

Algeria Circling The Drain

First there was political upheaval in Pakistan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and now Algeria is the latest Muslim country domino to teeter on the edge of open revolt.

Thousands in Streets of Algiers Demanding Change of Government

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Algeria’s capital and other main cities demanding the government’s ouster, mirroring protests in fellow North African countries Egypt and Tunisia.

A day after pro-democracy protesters drove Egypt’s longtime leader Hosni Mubarak from power, Algerians were in the streets demanding their own President Abdelaziz Bouteflika leave office.

Protesters chanting, “No to the police state!” and “Bouteflika out!”. News reports say crowds were in the thousands but far out numbered by riot police.

Protests also took place in other cities, including the Mediterranean hub of Oran, also against government orders.

See also:
ALGERIA: Clashes, arrests reported at banned anti-government demonstration
Thousands protest in Algeria, defying government warnings; 400 arrested but ‘the fear is gone’
Thousands Defy Ban To Protest In Algeria
400 arrested in Algeria at rally demanding reforms
Thousands rally to demand Algerian leader resign
Hundreds arrested as Algeria defies protest ban
Police and protesters clash in Algeria
Algerian opposition says 5,000 people participate in demonstration
Algeria: Police And Protesters Clash
Algerian police crack down on protesters
Algeria begins crackdown on pro-democracy demos
Algerian Riot Police Break Up Protest

I’d sure like to believe that the anti-government demonstrations in all these countries, one after the other, represented a wave of Western democracy marching through the Muslim world, but color me skeptical. None of these countries has any democratic history and their populations are decidedly non-secular. Even the countries held up as models of Muslim “democracy”, such as Turkey or Indonesia, have societies heavily steeped in Islamic law, antithetical to Western values.

/one thing’s for sure, whatever becomes of these Muslim countries currently embroiled in various stages of popular rebellion, the end result, in the aggregate, is likely to be decidedly less secular and less friendly to the West

Your Tax Dollars At Work In Egypt

Seventy billion, with a B? For comparison, Forbes lists the world’s richest person as Carlos Slim with $53.5 billion.

Mubarak family fortune could reach $70bn, say experts

President Hosni Mubarak’s family fortune could be as much as $70bn (£43.5bn) according to analysis by Middle East experts, with much of his wealth in British and Swiss banks or tied up in real estate in London, New York, Los Angeles and along expensive tracts of the Red Sea coast.

After 30 years as president and many more as a senior military official, Mubarak has had access to investment deals that have generated hundreds of millions of pounds in profits. Most of those gains have been taken offshore and deposited in secret bank accounts or invested in upmarket homes and hotels.

See also:
How much Is Egypt’s President Mubarak Worth? Some Say $70 Billion And Counting
The Mubarak Family’s Wealth
Hosni Mubarak richest man in world: Report
Hosni Mubarak richest man in world with estimated 70 billion dollar fortune: Report
Egyptian President Mubarak Is Richest Man In The World
Experts Say Mubarak Family’s Net Worth is Billions
Hosni Mubarak family’s $70 billion fortune
Mubarak’s wealth could reach 70bn
It Pays Well to Be Egypt’s Dictator
Egypt’s Mubarak Likely to Retain Vast Wealth
How did Egypt become so corrupt?

This is just beyond all ridiculousness. I mean, how the [expletive deleted] was Mubarak allowed to amass all this ill-gotten gain? The U.S. government must have known where all this money was going, how could they let this travesty happen?

/all I can say is that before Mister World Record Corruption Person gets to go anywhere and retire, he needs to be forced to disgorge every last [expletive deleted] penny of misappropriated U.S. taxpayer money

Yemen Circling The Drain

Okay, Yemen was already pretty much circling the drain. But now the Yemeni government, that was marginally helping us in the war against al Qaeda and radical Islam, is under pressure. Who knows what manner of government might come to power if the current one falls?

Massive protests erupt in Yemen to demand ouster of president

Around 15,000 protesters took to streets in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Thursday, calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

“People want to change the regime, want the president to leave, ” protesters uproared with pink belts wrapped around their heads, which symbolized freedom, waving pink flags together in the largest public rallies organized by the opposition parties in four areas in the capital.

The protesters are mainly university students, opposition party members and supporters, as well as some workers and the unemployed, mostly of whom complained about unemployment and poverty.

“We are sending our message today to the president and his government that we demand improving living conditions, combating corruption as well as political reform. We want better future for our children,” a protester from the opposition Islamist Islah party told Xinhua.

See also:
Yemen protesters demand change of government
Now, people’s power sets off tremors in Yemen
Political Unrest Spreads as Yemeni Protesters Rally against Long-time Ruler
Thousands in Yemeni capital protest regime
Thousands of protesters urge Yemeni President Saleh to resign
Thousands march in capital in support of reforms
Thousands of Yemenis demand change in government
Sporadic Protests Continue in Egypt as Protest Movement Spreads to Yemen
Yemen protests: Thousands call on president to leave
Yemen protests: ‘People are fed up with corruption’
Canada urges Yemen to allow ‘freedom of expression’
Yemen president slams Al-Jazeera TV by phone call with Qatar Emir
US backs Yemeni right to protest

Let’s see, the pro-Western governments of Pakistan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Egypt, and now Yemen, have all been toppled or are under extreme pressure from opposition groups looking to overthrow the current regimes. And what’s Obama’s response? He’s throwing them all under the bus by encouraging the opposition protests under the guise of “freedom of expression”. Doesn’t Obama realize that the world could end up with a whole slew of new, anti-Western, Islamic governments? Wouldn’t that be fun?

/Obama is really naive and stupid or he actually approves of the possibility of a bunch of new, anti-Western, Islamic governments, either way, it’s extremely unsettling, remember, Obama didn’t lift a finger to help or utter a peep of support when the mass protests were against the Islamic regime in Iran

Egypt Circling The Drain

Here we go again. First Pakistan, then Lebanon, Tunisia, and now . . . Egypt?

Three Dead in Egypt As Protestors Demand Mubarak’s Exit

At least three people have died as tens of thousands of protestors continue to pack the streets of Cairo in what has become the biggest protest in recent Egyptian history.

Two protestors died in the city of Suez and a security officer died in downtown Cairo as protestors calling for an end to President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year reign clashed with police. At least 100 protestors were injured in Cairo, where police used tear gas, rubber bullets, batons and dogs to try to disperse the crowds, and Twitter has been blocked.

The Associated Press said that 10,000 people had flooded downtown Cairo, where demonstrators shouted “Down with Mubarak” and “Tunisia, Tunisia” as part of a protest called “Day of Anger” that was purposely scheduled for “National Police Day.” Earlier this month, protests in Tunisia sparked by the self-immolation of a disgruntled job seeker and spread by social media brought down the government of President Ben Ali.

In Egypt, the protest remained nonviolent for most of the day with marches in the square and around the capital. However, by late afternoon a large group began to move towards the Ministry of the Interior, home of the police force, and security forces responded by using rubber bullets, tear gas and water hoses.

See also:
Rioters Jolt Egyptian Regime
Egypt: Protest Against ‘Repressive’ Mubarak
Protestors shake Egypt’s streets
Egypt Protests Leave 3 Dead; Cairo Rally Broken Up
Egypt Police Disperse Anti-Mubarak Protesters
A dam breaking in Egypt
Egypt protesters report live bullets used
Egypt: President’s son and family ‘have fled to the UK’
Update: Egypt protests
U.S. urges restraint in Egypt, says government stable
White House keeps eye on Middle East protests
Twitter blocked in Egypt as thousands of protesters call for government reform [Updated]
Twitter blocked in Egypt after political unrest
Twitter confirms it is blocked in Egypt

Boy oh boy, you can bet the ranch that the Muslim Brotherhood are just salivating at the prospect of toppling the Mubarak government. Another Western domino would surely fall under the control of radical Islamists and it would be arguably the largest domino in the region. These developments do not bode well at all for U.S. and, especially, Israeli interests. And I don’t think these protests are going to stop either, the masses have a real taste for it now.

/is Obama just going to sit back and watch as the Middle East burns to the ground?

Tunisia Circling The Drain

First the government of Pakistan breaks down, then the Lebanese government, and today, Tunisia’s government. See a pattern here? These are all Muslim countries and the toppled governments were all friendly to the United States.

Tunisians drive leader from power in mass uprising

Protesters enraged over soaring unemployment and corruption drove Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power Friday after 23 years of iron-fisted rule, an unprecedented popular uprising in a region dominated by strongmen who do not answer to their people.

Tunisians buoyant over Ben Ali’s ouster immediately worried, however, about what’s next: the caretaker leadership of the prime minister who took control, and the role of the army in the transition.

The upheaval took place after weeks of escalating unrest fueled partly by social media and cell phones, as thousands of demonstrators from all walks of life rejected Ben Ali’s promises of change and mobbed the capital of Tunis to demand his ouster in the country’s largest demonstrations in generations.

At least 23 people have been killed in the riots, according to the government, but opposition members put the death toll at more than three times that.

See also:
Tunisia: PM Takes Power Amid Deadly Riots
Exit Ben Ali – but can Tunisia change?
Tension Grips Tunisia’s Capital After Leader Flees
Tunisia in turmoil as President flees from the anger of the dispossessed
Tunisia: President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali forced out
Constitutional debate after Ben Ali
Arab activists hope Tunisia uprising brings change
Tunisia: a ‘wake-up call’ for Arab leaders
Patrick Cockburn: Troubles like these are brewing all over the Middle East
Al-Qaeda supports the events in Tunisia and Algeria
France did not prepare to welcome Tunisia’s Ben Ali: Foreign Ministry
Montreal eyes possible arrival of ex-Tunisian leader
Obama calls for free and fair Tunisia elections

That’s three governments in three Muslim countries in about as many weeks. How far will this trend spread and what government will be next to fall? It looks like we have a fast paced game of geopolitical dominoes going on here and it’s being played for keeps. And it could end up with Islamic interests being the eventual winners.

/it almost goes without saying that, chances are, the successor governments will be more hostile to the United States and Western interests

Eruption In Ecuador

Is it a coup attempt or just police protests against salary cuts? The 24 hour rule is in effect.

Ecuador ‘coup’: 50 injured in clashes

“We’ve treated 50 people in Quito for medical emergencies due to asphyxiation due to tear gas and impacts from pellets and teargas canisters,” said Jorge Arteaga, a Red Cross spokesman.

Most of the injured had been involved in clashes outside the hospital where president Rafael Correa is being held.

Mr Arteaga said that injuries were also reported in other Ecuadoran cities where rebel police took to the streets.

Mr Correa was holed up at Quito’s National Police Hospital, where he was taken after a tear gas canister exploded near him when he addressed rebellious police at a barracks nearby.

Although the police are surrounding the hospital and preventing him from leaving, Mr Correa told ECTV television that he is still running the country.

“They’re not letting me out,” Mr Correa said. “They’ve got all the hospital exits surrounded.

“Obviously, it’s a kidnapping, when you kidnap the president,” he added.

Mr Correa said he would not negotiate with the officers while he remains a captive.

“I’d rather die,” he said.

Ecuador’s president defiant after hospital rescue

A defiant Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa returned safely to the presidential palace late Thursday after spending hours held by police inside a hospital room outside Quito.

Minutes earlier, members of the Ecuadorian army — wearing gas masks — rescued him, a reporter for Ecuadorian Television reported.

Speaking from a balcony, Correa told thousands of jubilant supporters that he saw one person who was shot during the rescue, which he regretted.

He thanked his supporters — in particular his bodyguards — for standing behind him and said the rebel police effort to oust him had failed.

“Nobody has supported the police as much as this government, nobody has increased their salaries as much,” he said about police protests about what they thought were salary cuts. “After all we’ve done for the police, they did this!” he said, adding that he was held inside the room and not allowed to leave.

“Supposed national police!” he spat. “Shame on you!”

See also:
Ecuador coup attempt? President Rafael Correa attacked in police revolt.
Ecuador’s president attacked by police
State of Siege Declared Over Ecuador Coup
Coup d’état continues in Ecuador
Ecuador’s leader trapped after ‘coup attempt’
Ecuador President Hurt During ‘Coup Attempt’
Correa Claims Ecuador Coup Attempt After Scuffling With Police
Unrest In Ecuador: Protesting Security Forces Seize Airport
Protesting police, soldiers seize Ecuador airport
Ecuador Declares State of Emergency
Ecuador declares state of emergency as country thrown into chaos
Ecuador state of emergency: Your emails
Peru closes border with Ecuador after coup attempt
Colombia Seals Off Border with Ecuador
Colombia joins Peru in closing borders with Ecuador
Troops free Ecuador president
Ecuador president rescued amid police, military clash
Ecuador unrest: Rafael Correa returns to presidential palace
Ecuador’s President Freed From ‘Police Siege’
Troops storm Ecuador hospital and free Correa

Obviously, it’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on in Ecuador at the moment, although it seems that it might be a failed coup attempt.

/if so, all I can say is better luck next time, Rafael Correa is a close protégé of oppressive socialism poster boy and enemy of the United States, Hugo Chavez